You’ve probably heard that most adults need about eight 8-ounce glasses of water or other hydrating fluid per day, 64 ounces total. What you may not know is that your water needs increase while you’re pregnant and then increase even more if you choose to breastfeed. It’s recommended that pregnant women consume about ten 8-ounce glasses of water (80 ounces total) and breastfeeding women consume about thirteen 8-ounce glasses of water per day (104 ounces total).

Why Your Water Needs Increase When You’re Pregnant

When you’re expecting, your blood volume actually increases by about 40%, so the total volume of the water in your body also increases. Water is, of course, essential for a number of bodily functions, and it helps fuel your system to grow that tiny baby inside.

Drinking enough water may also help alleviate some of the undesirable side effects of pregnancy: constipation and hemorrhoids. Many pregnant women experience hemorrhoids at some point or another because of pregnancy hormones and the fact that your internal organs are shifting to make room for baby and placenta. Drinking plenty of water helps “get things moving” again. If you’re having more regular bowel movements, you may be able to avoid painful or itchy hemorrhoids that are a common side effect of constipation.

Is Water The Only Liquid That Counts?

Yes, and no. Water is the simplest way to stay hydrated. It’s true that other beverages like tea and sports drinks can hydrate you, but they come with additives like caffeine or high sugar content that you may want to avoid while you’re pregnant. Especially if you’re not used to drinking lots of water, it’s understandable that you may tire of drinking the recommnded ten glasses per day. If that’s the case, find some ways to make hydrating more interesting or motivating. Here are a few tips:

  • Set an hourly reminder on your phone to drink your water
  • Buy an XL water bottle or anything you know you’ll carry around with you all day to drink from
  • Add some lemon, lime, or spritz of another fruit to your water